Dear Dad, I Forgive You!

6 minutes

“….But grief is a walk alone. Others can be there, and listen. But you will walk alone down your path, at your own pace, with your sheared-off pain, your raw wound, your denial, anger and bitter loss. You will come to your own peace, hopefully…but it will be on your own. In your own time.”
                                                  –Cathy Lamb

Grieving is a natural process – one that needs its own time. It is not so easy to snap out of the hurtful event but it is something that needs to be dealt with patience. Grief does not always correlate with death but it could be anything – it could be in pain, due to a lost relationship, a lost opportunity, or just the feeling of not being good enough. There is no set way to grief but what is common in the process are the few stages the individual goes through – Denial, Anger, Depression, Bargain, and Acceptance. This might not be a linear process as people tend to move between the stages but not everyone experiences all five.

As I go back to my old days, I am reminded of that little girl I had a chance to meet. A girl with the brightest smile and the loudest laughter. One, with an energy no one could match. An excellent student, a faithful friend, and an amazing performer. Her life seemed perfect.

When I entered the school as the counselor she was that one name I often heard about and it was almost after 2 months that I happened to meet her. I remember sitting in my room after the lunch break when she walked up to me. “Ma’am, are you the school counselor?”, she asked, “I am Kesar!” and that’s how we began our first session. The therapy with her was going in speed before she mentioned the real issue.

“My parents often fight!” she said, which according to her was normal as every parent tend to fight sometimes. But as the session progressed it was obvious that these were not normal fights but scars she was hiding behind the bright smile. She has been a victim to verbal and physical abuse from the tender age of 4 or 5 years and it’s been over 10 years that she is living with the same. 

Kesar’s father was alcoholic and would constantly fight with her mother. These were not casual fights but one where he would beat her mother up for the slights mistake she made. Not holding the cup properly, not ironing his shirt, a little less or more salt in the food would end up in him beating this wife. And it did not stop there, the same would happen with Kesar as well. If she woke up 5 mins after the time she is ‘suppose’ to wake up her father would scream and beat her too for. This has been a daily routine for Kesar. It was because of this atmosphere in the house that Kesar was trying to compensate. Being the perfect daughter, student, sportswomen, performer was a way she was catching up with everything.

“I wear this mask that I cannot remove, I fear people would hate me if they knew the real me,” she said as tears rolled down her eyes.

She went on expressing her hatred towards her dad and how she wished he was dead so that she could have a day of peace.

Kesar, a 16-year-old girl never knew what is it like to be loved. To put in her own word she was compromising with life and dreaded each day as she woke up for all she ever saw was her father banging her mother’s head on the wall or burning her cloths.

There was a lot that this little girl was carrying in her heart. Although bearing a smile she was bitter inside.

As the therapy moved forward our main goal was to let all her anger out, giving her a space to ventilate. Expressing herself was one big struggle for her as that was a new experience. It took us several sessions working on the anger where she felt lighter but again would fall back after going back home.

It was in the morning, one day, after the prayer when she ran up to me and said, “Nothing is ever going to change” and she ran back to her class. She was hurt and had reached a point where she felt helpless and having to have this therapy seemed pointless. She kept denying that anything would ever change and went back to where we had started. She held all the struggle inside and stopped coming.

It was almost after a month or two that she visited me, but this time, something was different – she seemed much calmer. Her father had died and she had nothing to feel bad about anymore. It was hard for her to forgive him but she eventually did. Making her write a letter to her dead father, having to express herself and letting him know that she has indeed forgiven him was a way she let herself lose.

Having to reach that point was not a day’s work, but took a lot of effort and time.

The journey was not easy for her. But she chose to fight and live for herself. Yes, it scared her for life. Something she can never undo but she has made peace with it 

Finally, the day  came when she no more needed  therapy;  she smiled to let everyone know that she was much stronger than what she was yesterday!


Swekriti Bhatnagar

Swekriti Bhatnagar is your special friend from YourDOST team. She is a Masters in Counseling Psychology from Christ University. She is experienced in dealing with adolescent and relationship related issues. She believes in the power of communication and that everyone has the ability to change. Through YourDOST she wants to help people vent out their worries and wishes to make a difference in the lives of people